I may not be a great example of someone who has the travel bug. Never the less, as soon as I started inter-railing the week after finishing my A-levels, and as soon as I stepped foot in a country in which I had no idea where I was going to sleep, I knew I had it. I travelled with my best friend for 7 weeks - stopping only for cone pizza's (uhhh I KNOW I am a bad person), to wallow in Hungarian Spa's, to eat Gelato whilst leaning on the Trevi Fountain or to lie awake beneath the same stars we could have gazed at in England but which somehow seemed more inspiring and full of glistening hope from a campsite in Holland.
Since then, other commitments like my career as a model, studying part-time, starting a blog and launching a food product have restricted my freedom to travel and has somewhat tamed the bug. And although modelling allows me to travel here and there, it's just not the same when you're living in the confinement of a hotel room, and the only sights you see are inside a photo studio. However, the bug lives on, and the bug will always be there. My feet have been itching (not literally) to carry me somewhere new, and this summer I am going to let them.
But this post isn't about where I'm going, it's about where you're going, and how to stay feeling great whilst you're away from home comforts. There are hundreds of things I can think of to advise you to cram into your luggage no matter how little space there is in there. But it will always depend on what kind of trip you are taking (pleasure/business, short/long, alone/with company, rural/city break). Although a holiday should be a time to rest, relax and, some say, indulge, there are some people who may fear that a little indulgence with undo all their good work. Not to mention, if you've cut out certain foods and you give in to them whilst you're away, you may find you have become more sensitive to them, which could ultimately ruin your holiday. Also, not all holidays are for pleasure, so if you're concerned about staying well whilst you're abroad, pack wisely. The same way that eating well throughout the day depends heavily on what's in your tuppaware, travelling well depends heavily on what's in your suitcase.
Below is a short kit checklist for active / health conscious travellers, to make travelling well a little more straightforward. The list focusses more on kit, equipment, health and beauty, rather than foodstuffs as I'm sure you can work out which foods travel well yourself. Whether you will have access to a gym or will be working out on the beach, things like skipping ropes and resistance bands take up no space in your suitcase and provide instant, achievable full body workouts if used properly.
+ Remember to fill your carry-on with edible essentials too such as raw nuts, goji berries, homemade snacks, herbal tea bags and other things you might not find at the airport or at your destination.
1 . SKIPPING ROPE .
If you have space in your hotel room or apartment, a 10 minute skip will get your heart rate up and work your arms, abs, legs and butt. Try different variations, like throwing in some squats, skipping double time or skipping forward - if space permits. Skipping ropes take up no space, so fold them into your bag and take them to the beach / gym / park.
2 . RESISTANCE BAND .
I personally favour the privacy of my hotel room over the gym (especially in hotels or smaller apartment blocks as they tend to be really tiny). At home, I like working out in my bedroom or garden or at the local park, which means I don't have to take time out of my day for travelling either. I have a few small weights, a resistance circle and resistance bands. Resistance bands literally take up less space than a pair of socks, so are ideal for travelling. Use them around your ankles, knees or arms to intensify resistance movements and make your workout more challenging.
3 . SPORTS BRA / TRAINERS .
Sports bra's are one of the most important components of a woman's workout kit. Their importance isn't often on everybody's radar, but not wearing one, or wearing one that lacks in reliable structure or support, can be really damaging. Luckily leggings, shorts and sports tops are usually designed to be very lightweight and flexible, so you should manage to fit these things into your suitcase without much of a struggle. However, if you really don't have the space, tuck your sports bra into one corner (or wear it for the journey), and you may just have to work out in your pyjamas or some of your less slinky underwear (obviously not if you're working out in the presence of others). Where there's a will, there is always a way, even if it does involve a little nudity.
As for trainers, although these too are designed nowadays to be extremely lightweight and flexible, you still might have a tough time cramming these in amongst your clothes and other possessions. If this is the case, wear them for the journey. Going on runs whilst abroad is a great way to explore the area, and sprints are also the ideal activity for time-poor people, working your body far more than a long run. Even a 10 minute sprint in the mornings with kick start your metabolism and circulation, work all of your muscles (including activating your core more than a steady run will) and get your heart rate up.
4 . WATER BOTTLE .
Having a water bottle on hand has been proven to encourage the amount of water a person drinks throughout the day. I love these Citrus Zinger bottles as they make it super easy to infuse your water, making it not only tastier but also more nutritious, detoxifying and alkalising. I also like BRITA Fill & Go, although this takes up a little more space.
5 . SMALL WEIGHTS / ANKLE WEIGHTS .
When I work out from home, I occasionally use small weights, usually dumbbells of around 3-4kg (I've always been weak). I only do gentle exercises with them occasionally, but otherwise I tend to work with my own body weight - which means I don't have to turn my sleeping quarters into a gym, and which is also ideal for traveling. If you get too used to working out with weights, you'll miss them when you're away, and unless you have a fully equipped gym waiting at your destination, you're not going to carry 2 hefty weights through security, or take up valuable luggage hold weight allowance which could otherwise be used for shoes - or clothes. If I go away for a short amount of time and know I will be able to go for runs, but not use a gym, I'll take ankle weights which are lighter - around 1-2kg - to intensify simple resistance workouts, jogs and sprints.
6 . SUPERFOOD POWDERS & TEA BAGS .
In some hotels, you will have a fridge and a kettle and not a lot else. I always take small sachets of superfood powders, pouches of buckwheat flakes and chia seeds to add to my water or to a bottle of juice or nut milk. Bottles make it easier as you can shake the liquid with the superfoods to make them diffuse more evenly. This makes an instant, detoxifying drink to enjoy either in the morning, just before bed or to take out the door with you. You can also add superfood powders to meals, so keep them in your bag to add to salads if the local cafes and shops don't have a lot to offer. Tea bags are also a great travel companion as each herbal blend has cleansing properties, can aid digestion, boost your metabolism or calm the body and mind. Several places I've visited haven't kept up with the popularity of green tea, so I always take my own just in case.
7 . CONTAINERS .
If you're going to keep healthy whilst you're away, you're going to need to be prepared to make your own meals every so often. I have become all too familiar with cutting open an avocado with the teaspoon from my hotels coffee station, just to complete a shoddy, makeshift salad. But anything is possible, and if you take a small container or tuppaware with you on your travels, you will always be prepared. You can easily mix up a water or milk based chia seed pudding or overnight buckwheat flake bircher, or use your container to take a basic salad or some berries and nuts along with you for the day. Additionally, if you have a good meal at a cafe or restaurant but can't finish it all, taking the leftovers home is wise, and having a container make keeping these fresh and taking them with you wherever you're going, much easier and cleaner.
8 . SMALL CANDLES OR ESSENTIAL OILS .
If you're going away for a long time, or are going on a trip which involves a lot of traveling to and from places, I'd advise taking small, natural herbal candles to help you sleep. Choosing a candle with essential oils in can be healing both for the mind, body and soul. If your mind is calm, your body is calm, and if your body is calm, your body can sleep, and if your body can sleep, your body gets the chance to rest and reset, meaning you wake up feeling clearer, restored, repaired and more energised. I would advise taking essential oils but be wary of them leaking. Only take them if there is no chance for them to smash in your bag, and ensure the seal is not yet broken. Candles are safer. I like NEOM, Ren and Neal's Yard.
9 . EYE MASK .
Changed my life, and competes strongly with the ones that aeroplane's provide. Ideal for travelling on planes, sleeper trains, coaches or as a passenger in a car, and also if your sleeping arrangements are distracting, not dark enough, or let in light far too early in the mornings. I love my House of Hackney Palm Print Mask.
10 . PULLABLE OIL .
These are ideal for travelling, especially if you are going to be in and out of airports, train stations and coach stations. It saves you having to carry toothpaste everywhere you go and forgetting it doesn't qualify for your >100ml bag, and also saves you taking a jar of coconut oil with you too, which can break or leak far more easily than these. Oil pulling doesn't require a sink, which means you can oil pull on your walk to the station, if you take a break in the middle of nowhere during your road trip, or on your morning run (as long as you find somewhere dignified to spit it out afterwards). Oil pulling not only cleans teeth, refreshes breath and effectively kills oral germs and bacteria, it has also been known to cleanse the system, kickstart the metabolism and cure diseases. Many diseases are influenced by the mouths ecology and bacteria, and this bacteria clings to the oil and dissolves into it (this is why it is important NOT to ever swallow the pulled oil). Toothpaste also works to remove this, but unless your toothpaste is natural and sugar free, there is no guarantee that it provides the best care for your mouth.
11 . PACKING-FRIENDLY SUPPLEMENTS .
Every time I go away I find it difficult to decide which supplements to take, or whether to take any at all. Whilst I put my health first in most situations, I'm not always so willing, and having to cram awkward shaped glass jars in between layers of clothes and shoes just messes up any system in my suitcase (if ever there was one). In the past I have split supplements into small plastic pouches, or combining an equal amount of a range of supplements in one jar to reduce the space they take up. This summer, however, since discovering Inner Me, I'm looking forward to taking my supplements in lightweight, flexible and compact strips, all assigned to certain days, making it easier, quicker and simpler to pop the right pills and keep your body loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and trace minerals.